Do you Remember the 1985 Film “Making Contact” aka “Joey”?

YouTube suggestions are a mixed bag. Lots of times the get it wrong. Yeah, I watched The Thing (1982) trailer, but in what universe does that mean I’d be interested in watching Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead? Sometimes, though, they get it right. One of those times was when they suggested I watch the trailer for Making Contact.

Making Contact, aka Joey, is a 1985 suburban fantasy film directed by Roland Emmerich (Universal Soldier, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and a dozen others). And from the trailer, it looked like it. Making Contact looked like so many other mid-80s suburban fantasy films like E.T., Explorers, The Goonies, Poltergeist, and the like, that I asked myself the entire time I watched the trailed, “How could I have missed this?”

I don’t know how I missed it, but to be honest, I didn’t miss much. Yes, Making Contact is like lots of these films. Let me list the ways:

– Young protagonist who is alienated by tragedy (death of father), develops supernatural powers (telekinesis), and finds himself at odds with the establishment (school administration)
– Group of cute, spunky kids who embark on an adventure
– An abundance of contemporary toys, including many Star Wars vehicles
– Otherworldly elements
– Practical special effects that range from really good to really obvious
– Interference from hostile governmental agencies
– Heart-rending climax that takes you from sad tears to glad tears
– Neon titles
– Lens flares

And yet, despite all these elements, Making Contact just falls kind of flat. How, you ask? Because it DOESN’T MAKE A LICK OF SENSE, I answer. Making Contact looked cool, felt cool, and had lots of cool parts, but it was so incoherent that I had no idea what was happening most of the time. A kid who thinks he’s contacted his dead father develops telekinesis, finds a demon-possessed ventriloquist dummy, trashes his moms house, gets all his friends and enemies in a situation where they may go to hell, rescues them, dies, then comes back. Nothing seemed to fit, and I was just going with it by the end.

Still, if you want to see a movie with that 80s vibe that you haven’t seen a dozen or more times before, Making Contact might work for. To be honest, it did for me, despite the problems I had with it. So I guess thanks to YouTube are in order?


Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

Latest posts by Doug (see all)

Never Miss an Episode

Stay up-to-date on the latest from the Retroist Podcast. Sign up and receive email notifications when there's a new episode of the Retroist Podcast or when we launch new podcasts.
* indicates required

4 thoughts on “Do you Remember the 1985 Film “Making Contact” aka “Joey”?

  1. Atari Adventure Square says:

    I confused this one with The Pit and The Gate, in those years of watching every VHS tape under the sun.

    Lotta these odd titles were so boring, you had to make sure you had an often-seen but reliable movie to get some fun out of rentals that night (we could never rent just *one* movie).

  2. Well, it sounds like you gave the whole movie away, so I’ll pass, besides, the trailer looks like blah to me. As for The Gate, at least that movie made SOME sense and had a BOO factor once or twice.

    Honestly, I would not give this movie a chance even if you didn’t spoil it ;)

    Big up Doug!

  3. Great post, Doug! I had let this movie become tucked away in the dark corridors of my brain…and forgotten…for good reason. Though I’ll admit that as always I felt the ventriloquist dummy was creepy.

  4. Lawrence Lay says:

    Yes. Good underrated movie. Although, more Poltergeist than E.T. E.T. references can be seen. An E.T. glass. A creature that resembles E.T. briefly peeping out of a trashcan. This films young star definitely looks like Elliott

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.